Concentric Sky and SURFnet Announce Collaboration to Explore the Digital Learning Environments of the Future

A partnering to build a digital credentialing system in the Netherlands.

Concentric Sky, developers of Badgr, and SURFnet, the Dutch National Research and Education Network, are partnering to build a digital credentialing system in the Netherlands.

Concentric Sky, developers of Badgr, and SURFnet, the Dutch National Research and Education Network, are partnering to build a digital micro-credentialling system in the Netherlands. This partnership gives SURFnet access to the Badgr development team and will facilitate contributions by SURFnet to the Badgr open source project.

“The digital learning environment of the future will be an interconnected whole of services and applications that support students and teachers in their learning and teaching activities. We chose Badgr for this project because it is open source, based upon open standards, and is well suited for integration into a larger landscape of learning technologies,” said Frans Ward of SURFnet. “We look forward to contributing the results of our work back to the open source community.”

The Open Badges standard upon which Badgr is based is seeing growing adoption around the world. Originally created by Mozilla with funding from the MacArthur Foundation, the Open Badges standard was supervised by the Badge Alliance until January 2017, when it was transferred to IMS Global Learning Consortium - an open-governance, member-based standards consortium that is committed to furthering the adoption, integration, and portability of digital badges to meet the needs of learners, educators, and employers.

“Open Badges is an important standard that is essential to harnessing the power of digital credentials to capture and visually present learner achievements that are verifiable and portable to help learners differentiate themselves in an increasingly competitive world,” said Rob Abel, CEO of IMS Global. “We are pleased to see two IMS Contributing Members collaborating together to lead the adoption of open badges technology that will improve the return on investment in education.”

The recently proposed version 2.0 of Open Badges is the most significant upgrade to the specification since its 2011 launch, making it possible to address dozens of new micro-credential use cases. The new features make Open Badges more flexible and secure, allowing users to more expressively describe any type of educational achievement as a portable and verifiable digital micro-credential.

SURFnet sees promise in the use of Open Badges for Dutch Higher Education to enable micro credentialing and more flexibility and choice for students as well as better adapted education to meet the needs of employers who would like their staff to be certified. SURFnet will soon begin meeting with educational institutions to establish experiments that could benefit the sector.

Originally created to serve as the official reference implementation for Open Badges during Concentric Sky’s stewardship of the Badge Alliance in 2015, the Badgr project has grown into a key part of the technology infrastructure for hundreds of the world’s leading academic institutions. The Badgr team led the development of Open Badges 2.0 prior to the hand-off of the standard to IMS Global, and in April this year followed that effort by donating BadgeCheck to IMS Global. BadgeCheck now serves as the foundation of the official validator for Open Badges.

“Concentric Sky is committed to building software with open technologies in a way that leaves the world better than we found it,” said Wayne Skipper, CEO of Concentric Sky. “We’re honored to be chosen to be part of this important project and we look forward to working with SURFnet to explore building the digital learning environments of the future.”

About Concentric Sky

Founded in 2005, Concentric Sky is an award winning software design & development firm located in Eugene, Oregon. Concentric Sky creates software solutions for a wide variety of prominent organizations around the world including The World Bank, The United Nations, Intel, National Geographic and Encyclopedia Britannica. Badgr is a registered trademark of Concentric Sky.

For more information about Concentric Sky, visit http://www.concentricsky.com

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